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Hammerstone Meets the Dark Side of CONTRA

MLW Fusion Review – February 3rd

After a sequence of episodes that have felt a little on the flat side, this week’s MLW Fusion looks promising, with the MLW Tag Titles on the line and the much-promoted ‘Baklei Brawl’ between Alexander Hammerstone and Mads Krügger set for the main event.

It’s a packed card, so let’s head straight to the ring!

Jordan Oliver vs. Sentai Death Squad Member

This was just a quick squash to establish Jordan Oliver as a contender to Fatu and lasted.less than two minutes. Fine, except Oliver didn’t really do anything to stand out. A cutter from the top finished it quick. Post-match Oliver cut a promo about how he’s gained weight and is now heavyweight so can challenge Fatu for his belt. Again, fine, but in no way did Oliver come across in any way like a main event calibre. In fact, Myron Reed would have been a better call; he can go in the ring and he can talk. Still, we’ll see where this goes.

From the NBA to MLW

In a nice bit of publicity, we see how Sports Illustrated broke the story about Tim Donaghy on Twitter. It turns out the referee who fixed last week’s main event where Savio Vega got screwed is the same ref that fixed games in the NBA a few years back. Apparently, and this is where I admire MLW’s commitment to kayfabe, the athletic commission supplies MLW with refs but they made some strange substitutions on the day, as noticed by Court Bauer. The amount of money being bet on Richard Holliday to win also dramatically increased at the last moment. An actual sporting corruption storyline! I quite like this idea. Alicia Atout hopes to get some answers from Richard Holliday next week.

Meanwhile, Salina de la Renta has sent in a video on behalf of Promociones Dorado to Savio Vega, claiming that the IWA in Puerto Rico is short of money and that Promociones Dorado has an interesting proposition to make to him. I wouldn’t hold your breath, Salina.

The Von Erich’s Will Be At Filthy Island

Meanwhile on Kauai, the Von Erich brothers are hearing rumours that Filthy Island might no happen; too many people are upset about what Team Filthy pulled with ACH and the Von Erichs themselves. The sponsors are pulling out. But it makes no difference to the Von Erichs. If Filthy Tom shows up, they’re showing up!

MLW Tag Team Champions Los Parks vs. TJP & Bu Ku Dao

With Salina Dr La Renta acting unusually nervous at ringside and shadowed once again by the mysterious suited man, the intrigue around the ownership of Promociones Dorado cast a shadow over this match from the start—the champions were seemingly under more pressure to win than normal.

LA Park set the tone by blindsiding TJP at the bell. The majority of the match saw Los Parks isolating Bu Ku Dao and preventing TJP from getting involved. When the challengers were able to get a rally going, it was via double team moves; a stereo set of dives to the outside; a crossroads and an octopus locked onto their opponents. But it wasn’t enough to claim the gold.

In the end, with TJP and LA Parks on the outside and Dao and Hijo de LA Park on the mat after a double clothesline, Salina distracted the ref with a handful of dollar bills. This allowed Mr Suit (as I shall name him) to slip Hijo under the ropes and under the ring, and a decoy slipped in to nail Dao with a shoulder breaker for the 1-2-3.

After this fun little match, Dao tried to console TJP, who didn’t want to know, shoving his partner to the mat and storming out. Poor Dao…

“Let’s Make You Famous Kid”

Following on from AAA Cruiserweight Champion Laredo Kid’s challenge to MLW Middleweight Champion Lio Rush last week, we get a nice little promo here from Lio Rush in response. Lio puts over that he doesn’t know who Laredo Kid even is but he does love gold, so why not make this an inter-promotional belt vs. belt match? Hell yeah! Nice and simple and Rush sold his arrogance well. Next week can’t come soon enough.

A Preview of Filthy Island

Alicia Atout gave us a preview of Filthy Island, due February 27th. The big exciting news is the rematch between King Mo and Low Ki. Ki got cheated last time, so I’m sure he’s not going to make the same mistake twice.

Meanwhile, Tom Lawlor says it’s an interactive experience, you can come down and get stretched and put to sleep if you want to.

Think I’ll pass on that experience this time.

Gringo Loco vs. Gino Medina

Gino was back for the first time since leaving the Dynasty, and you would suspect that, since his confrontation with Richard Holliday was only a couple of weeks ago, that he would be the face here. On the contrary, Medina displayed an air of superiority and arrogance throughout, even going so far as to challenge Loco to wrestle him while he had one arm behind his back!

Loco wasn’t phased and put in a solid performance, using an aerial ability surprising for a man of his size. He couldn’t prevent Medina from reversing a roll up into a roll up of his own for the pin to end a short but enjoyable contest.

Afterwards, Medina cut a promo and apparently said some unflattering things about Loco in Spanish, to which Loco responded by leaping onto Medina and attempting to smack the tar out of him. Rematch, gents?

Baklei Brawl: Alexander Hammerstone vs. Mads Krügger

Alexander Hammerstone was shown turning up in the darkness to what looked to be some kind of industrial estate with a referee and a cameraman in toe. I liked how the cameraman was nervous and kept trying to suggest they leave. What was this—the Contra Witch Project? Nice touch.

Mads finally appeared from behind a gate and the fight was on. Now, one criticism would be that this was pretty short. On the other hand, they were clearly setting up something else, so I don’t mind the length so much. I think we’ll get a much bigger pay-off down the road.

What we did get, though, was damn good.

Krügger and Hammerstone pounded each other, utilising wooden pallets, dumpsters and gates to bruising effect. One moment where Krügger slammed one gate against another one on which Hammerstone’s head was resting looked genuinely brutal. It was just what I wanted: two beefy boys going on a rampage against each other.

The end was unexpected but I quite liked it. Hammerstone made a cover when he and the now-terrified cameraman realised the man Hammer had just pinned wasn’t Krügger; his glove was on the wrong hand, he was smaller and his tattoos had disappeared. So where was Mads? Ask and you shall receive, as Krügger appeared out of the darkness and took Hammerstone out with two big hands, before advising “he has big plans for you.”

Who does? Josef Samuel? Fatu? Someone else who might really be the one behind CONTRA? I have to admit, my curiosity is piqued. Something like this could have gone easily wrong and yielded up complaints about bad sports entertainment, but I enjoyed it. I think it was just the right side of dark, without going too far into ‘Fiend’ territory and the like.

The question is: what will happen to Hammerstone now he’s in the hands of CONTRA’s own ‘Black Hand’?

Final Thoughts

This week’s edition of MLW Fusion was a much more entertaining edition than last week’s. It was much better paced, with more matches included that didn’t overstay their welcome, and the promo videos were spread out more evenly throughout the show, rather than being placed in big lump in the middle of the show.

We got to see dissension between TJP and Bu Du Kao; the mystery thicken around Promociones Dorado; and the feud between Hammerstone and CONTRA take a deeper turn. Lio Rush sent in an energised promo which nicely set up a big title match for next week. I’m happy.

I’m still not buying Jordan Oliver as a challenger to Fatu though.

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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